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BG scrimmage offers first look at 2002 Tyrone Golden Eagles

After a long, hot week of three-a-day practices that consisted of hitting only each other, Tyrone finally got to hit somebody else Saturday morning when they scrimmaged the Marauders of Bishop Guilfoyle.
“I liked how we hit today,” commented head coach John Franco. “We played aggressively and we ran to the football well.”
Hard-hitting defense has developed into a trademark in Tyrone football over coach Franco’s eight year tenure at the helm, and his ninth appears to be no different. The Eagle defense looked quick, swarming to the football and gang-tackling Marauder ball carriers. “Today was our first fast look on defense, which the scout team can’t give you,” said defensive coordinator Steve Guthoff. “Our first team played well when it was intact. We played a lot of people today and started rotating a lot in the third defensive series.”
Tyrone’s first team gave up only one score, and came away with an interception and a fumble recovery. The team showed promise on offense as well, especially in the passing game. Senior quarterback Tyler Mertiff was 5 for 5 passing, connecting on several strikes of over 25 yards to receivers Aaron Jeffries and Tommy Crowl. Mertiff also hooked up with tight end Dan Grazier for an 11 yard touchdown.
Tyrone’s offensive line and running backs are two areas of the team that are very young. Sophomores Terry Tate and Ralph Van Allman will have to step up on the line, as probable starter Justin Clark couldn’t play because of an injury suffered in Thursday’s practice. Sophomores Brice Mertiff and Ben Gummo, as well as junior Max Soellner all had several rushes in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Our running game was a little inconsistent,” Franco said. “We still have a lot of work to do on our offensive line, but we blocked half decently.”The first scrimmage of the year is always a good indication of how the opening week of three-a-day practices went.
“I was very pleased with our conditioning and our enthusiasm,” stated Franco when asked about the opening week of practice. “We had two key injuries, but our senior leadership is outstanding and made up for it.”
The Golden Eagle coaching staff will be counting on their seniors to guide a 2002 squad that boasts several talented but inexperienced players.
Nearly every senior on the team saw a great deal of action last year, and in last week’s practices they were constantly helping the younger players out with their experience. This guidance showed in Saturday’s scrimmage as well.
Following the BG scrimmage, coach Franco commented, “The first scrimmage is really just a practice against another team. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re coming. We’re right on track, and that’s a tribute to our seniors.”
Tyrone continues their triple practices on Monday and Tuesday, then travel to Central on Friday for a scrimmage with the Scarlet Dragons at 7 p.m. Also, Meet the Eagles night is this Thursday at Gray Veterans Memorial Field at 7 p.m.